25. One Month In Uvita

Friday 7/2- I don’t have anything to report about our adventure on this particular day, but it has been one whole month since we’ve been at our rental house!! (Yeah, we know its been about 4 months since we’ve been gone, but we have to catch you all up on our adventure, one day at a time!) It sure doesn’t feel like it’s been a whole month already, the time really did fly by! I do just want to point out the irony of this one small thing though. We have now been at our rental house in Uvita for 1 month and we have yet to do anything “touristy”. I know this isn’t a vacation, but I do think it is interesting to point out that we haven’t been to the beach, gone on any tours, or even any hikes in the area since we’ve been here. Between the driving restrictions, running errands when we can drive, wanting to avoid the large crowds at the beach on the weekends, and all of our other adventures and day-to-day life things, we haven’t really had the chance (although, we do have a small view of the ocean from our balcony, so at least we get to see it every day. And we can hear the waves crashing on windy or high-wave days!) We will, eventually… soon! 

We are also very curious to see how Breeze reacts to the ocean. Her feelings about swimming and water are so-so. She’s a lab, so that’s crazy, right? She’s supposed to love the water! Typically, she’ll really only swim if we’re in there swimming with her, so we’ll see. There are also a few shallow rivers nearby that people swim in. We would really like to bring her to play in the river too, but again—just haven’t taken the time. Once things settle down a little bit, we will definitely head to the water and let you know how it goes! 

Saturday 7/3- With all of the wind a few days ago and all of the rain this time of year we have been hearing and seeing a lot of trees falling out in the jungle. You know the old question “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well—my best guess would be yes! We have heard trees falling but have never been close enough to see it, but those definitely make a sound!

About a week ago Mike the neighbor told us that just the day before he was standing in his bathroom getting dressed and looking out his window to his back yard and patio area and suddenly saw a tree falling right toward him. As he watched it fall, realizing it would fall right on his house, it suddenly twisted as it fell and ended up falling across his sidewalk and landing on his railing instead. Fortunately, no major damage, but now his path was blocked. He tried to move it on his own, but it was too big and too heavy, he would have to call in a company to get rid of it. We didn’t go back there to see the tree or how big it was, but I’m sure it was quite a scary experience.

We also learned recently that there is a type of tree here that grows fast and tall, and grows some little green-bean looking things that the toucans, sloths, and monkeys love to eat. While that is great to watch the wildlife, these trees also have very shallow roots and when the ground is very wet or it’s very windy, these tree often just tip over. This is NOT good if they are growing near your house or where you park your car.

Well, yesterday when we came back from our walk, we were cooling down on the veranda and heard the sound of a tree breaking. We both looked at each other and realized this was very close to us. We kind of cringed and ran to the edge of the veranda only to see a tree snap about 15-20’ up and come falling towards the house.

Thankfully it was not a massive tree and another tree stopped the fall. However, the tree is now leaning over the roof of our house. That’s not good!! As with all things going on at the house, we asked Loren what we should do about it. (We really aren’t bugging him about all of this because we are inept, he is the caretaker of this property, so things like this really do make sense to go through him). He told us to talk to Jorge and have him come check it out. If it needs to be professionally removed, Loren will find a company to come do that. So, today when we went on our walk, we saw Jorge and told him about the tree. We asked him if he has a chainsaw. By asking him this I mean sound effects and sign language, and mostly Ramie doing the charades. I was able to get a few words out and found out he does not have a chainsaw. Jorge did mention he will come look at it later this morning and let us know what he thinks about it.

A while later he came up to check it out and just nodded his head and walked a little ways into the jungle to the base of the tree (also, side note- this is the same area we found the snake last week). It was interesting to see how a local makes his way into the jungle here. He had his machete out and whacked off all of the leaves and plants around him as he went. As far as I can tell, this is probably to make walking in easier AND to make anything scary (like snakes) visible as you are walking. Also note- he was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and his tall rubber boots. (If it were Ramie, I would have made him wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves, etc… just in case!!) The tree wasn’t that far back into the jungle, maybe about 20-25’ but we lost sight of Jorge.
Ramie finally spotted him and all we could see was the from his shoulders up. You really couldn’t tell that there was a hill there, but Jorge was now standing down the side of a steep hill and the jungle growth was easily hiding him. We heard Jorge yell something to us and Ramie thought, he said to get back, (how Ramie understood Jorge speaking Spanish, I have no idea, but he does have a good knack for understanding Spanish, just not speaking it) At this point, I grabbed Breeze and headed to the veranda on the opposite side of the house to watch and Ramie yelled for Jorge to go ahead.

Before we knew it, Jorge was whacking the tree with his machete to cut it down. Now, this is no small sapling, the trunk of this tree was probably about 8” around. And he was going to cut it down with a machete?! Well, being curious, I started counting in my head how many hits it took for him to cut it down, one, two, three… The whacks and discussion back and forth between Ramie and Jorge just kept going. Soon enough about 45 whacks later with a razor sharp machete this tree came crashing down. Thankfully, as the tree fell, it hit some other trees, twisted and broke apart in the middle, and didn’t come anywhere near falling on the house. Tragedy averted!

Today we also received the estimates from Geiner for the excavation and getting the land ready for the properties we are looking at. This will give us just a little bit more insight into how much the land itself will cost before we put a house on it and help us decide which property we want to make an offer on. I guess we have some thinking and deciding to do! 
Happy 4th of July
Sunday 7/4- While this was not my first independence day out of the country, it was my first 4th of July that was not spent surrounded by other fellow Americans (I spent the 4th of July in Iraq in 2008 surrounded by fellow patriotic soldiers). We don’t really have any 4th of July traditions that we were missing out on, but these last few years we scheduled camping trips over the 4th. We were missing camping with Taryn, Steven and Will so far this summer.

We saw on some of our Costa Rica Facebook groups that there were some bars or restaurants around the country where there are large concentrations of Americans that were celebrating in various ways. There was even a place in our area that was doing this, but today was a no-driving day for us so Ramie and I celebrated, just the 2 of us. We didn’t have any fireworks or even an American flag, but we sat on our porch, drank some wine, and listened to some good old American rock & roll music that we had brought with us on an external hard drive. Pandora doesn’t work down here, but even if it did, we don’t have wifi yet and we are trying to conserve our data as much as possible for when we actually need it. (Oh yeah, Spotify does work down here, so I guess we’ll be switching to that instead of Pandora once our internet is up and running.)

Many of you that know us know how we both like wine. Wine isn’t a huge thing down here, It’s just too hot for the grapes to grow, but there is always a selection at the grocery store to choose from. The last time we were shopping I decided that I wanted to try the cheapest red wines that they were selling, so I found a bottle of Merlot from Chile that was about $4.50. That’s what we cracked open and shared to celebrate. It was actually pretty good, I would buy it again! (Although, I think it was on sale, so it might not always be the cheapest option, I will continue to explore my cheap wines!) After bottle number 1 was gone, it was still early enough that we decided to crack open bottle number 2. This wine I had bought at the Uvita feria a couple of weeks ago. It’s a locally made wine, flavored of Jamaica Rose & Rosemary.

The vendor had several flavors available and let us taste them all, and this was our favorite. I was planning to save it to celebrate getting internet, but that is just taking far too long and I might as well drink it today to celebrate America’s birthday. So we did- and it was very, very good!

Even Breeze wanted to try

We also got some bad news-- our neighbor Mike told us that the pump on the well that serves our neighborhood (the 4 houses here) had died a few days ago. Yes, a few days ago and we are just finding out!!! (Would have been nice to know so we could conserve flushing the toilet, doing dishes, or taking showers.) We have a 200 gallon water storage tank that is now about 3 days less of water. CRAP!! We need to really really watch how much water we use! The guys to fix it would be out on Monday, but he recommended conserving water in the meantime. Most houses here in Costa Rica not on legal water have a holding tank, those on legal water are on a water system like in the US and do not require a holding tank. We knew we had one but never really gave it much thought because the well always kept it full. Now that we knew we should be conserving water we checked how much water was left. The tank was at about 2/3 full, wow that’s not bad we only used about 66 gallons of water in 3 days!!! That’s impressive to say the least. Those of you back in the states, here something to think about, most of you have a 40 gallon water heater, how long would that last you? That’s another thing, here we really watch our usage of water and electricity. One reason is because it is limited and not always guaranteed, but also because it's also expensive! So we only use what we need to and most of the time have everything shut off. The rest of what is in the holding tank should last us a couple of days, right? We really had no idea! And they are supposed to be out tomorrow to fix it, so we should have no problems… but you know how quickly things in Costa Rica get fixed, right?

Pura Vida!!